The uncertainty surrounding coronavirus is becoming the hardest thing to handle.
We are not sure how exactly we would be impacted, fuelling the anxiety.
The risks associated with Coronavirus are becoming substantial in many workplaces.
And businesses are feeling the effects of this pandemic.
Increasingly event cancellations are happening, more restrictions are being placed on movement, and hence even supply chain is getting impacted.
Not to forget the increased fear, anxiety and personal concern about the contagion.
And it all is trickling down through all levels of a company, impacting employees massively.
And it is putting pressure on the population in almost all countries. People are feeling this uncertainty over their health and that of their loved ones, therefore anxiety and worry are aggravated.
This anxiety and stress are leading to a hefty cost on organizations in terms of absenteeism, lost productivity, and increased healthcare spending.
Organizations cannot and should not ignore the impact that these environmental stressors are having on their employees and their business.
Fortunately, many organizations have options for mitigating these effects and are helping their employees to stay safe and productive.
While the companies at a global scale have put in place the Business Continuity Plan (BCP), why can’t we do the same at the micro-level?
At an individual level? At the family level? At society level?
As businesses start with impact analysis, we as individuals and families and as a society need to assess the potential impacts of such a pandemic.
If there is a lockdown happening in so many countries globally, it has to be taken seriously.
At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19.
However, there are many on-going clinical trials evaluating potential treatments. (Source: WHO)
Till the time a cure is found for Coronavirus, we as individuals and families should adhere to the government policies, requests, and timelines for lockdowns.
While the scientists work meticulously to find an antidote and our security personnel work hard to keep us safe, what measures can we take to keep ourselves safe?
The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the COVID-19 virus and how it spreads.
And, we all are taking measure to protect ourselves from infection by washing our hands or using sanitizers frequently.
But apart from keeping physically safe, how can we ensure emotional and mental wellness? How could we find better precautionary measures so that never ever, we are able to find ourselves in this situation again?
Apart from being stressed out and anxious about the pandemic, and cribbing about the extra chores we are doing these days…what is our positive contribution to ourselves, our families and our society?
Just like the global conglomerates are focussing on cultivating a framework of the Business continuity plan, designing and executing disaster management and documenting their findings, fine-tuning their approach through subsequent exercises, how can we work on our continuity plan by ensuring good health, fitness, and wellness so that productivity is enhanced?
This situation has pointed out our current thinking, emotional and spiritual patterns. What the world needs today is, attention to lifestyle changes- including exercise, nutrition, exercise and stress management.
But more importantly, the need of the hour is emotional and mental wellbeing for increased resilience to changing environments.
I’ll tell you why.
A mindful approach to helping your team through the current global crisis can bail you out of the situation faster. Similarly, a mindful approach at home can give you and your family – wellness forever.
So you might wonder, this thing is a virus. Why focus on the mind, body, and spirit?
Being emotionally healthy means we are strong emotionally.
We are not scared of the situations at hand.
Our minds work in a better productive way and we think logically too.
This, in turn, means holistic wellness because when you raise your energy levels, you become more productive, do current tasks in a more efficient way resulting in sharper minds leading to ‘being future-ready’.
Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus experience mild to moderate respiratory illness.
Yoga and meditation help you to make your mind, body, and spirit in balance.
You see the stressors; tensions and habits create physical and energetic obstacles in our bodies.
Often, we don’t notice our breathing initially till it becomes considerably shallow or stilted.
And then gradually, we develop an unconscious breathing pattern restricting the flow of breath (prana).
‘Prana’ means the life force in our body. Pranayama, therefore, means increasing the life force in our body.
Prana ensures that we focus on complete health and well-being rather than focussing on temporary relief of symptoms that addresses the disease at hand.
When we do pranayama, the breathing exercise clears the nasal pathways.
Pranayama also causes the emotional and physical obstacles in our body to be removed completely with sustained and regular practice.
Further, Prana can be increased by consuming fresh fruits, vegetarian food, and taking adequate rest.
When you’re feeling scattered and stressed, take time to practice yoga or quiet sitting. Ideally, 20 minutes is all you need to restore mindfulness and it is easily achievable even on a highly busy day.
Yoga helps to build resilience, flexibility, balance, and strength.
It helps quieten mental chatter and deepens spiritual awareness.
Even the Harvard Medical School has said in its latest health guideline that, yoga, meditation, and controlled breathing are “some tried and true ways to relax”.
So these are things we could do at individual, family and society levels.
At corporate levels, we increasingly have to find ways of practicing Compassionate Leadership.
How can we find ways of practicing Compassionate leadership?
Here, are some ways:
Look: It is the time for not only self-reflection but also to check with your teams: how are they doing? What are their energy levels?
Listen: It is the time to listen: mindful listening. It is about listening when they speak openly and honestly about their issues.
Feel: Everyone is going through a range of emotions. Take time to acknowledge how someone else is truly feeling.
Respond: with compassion. Stressful times cause irritations and frustrations to erupt but it is the time to respond with compassion and kindness.
Our actions should come from a place of ‘being centered’ where we use our intelligence and judgment to find the best course of action: without being distracted by fears and anxieties.
Being healthy after all is not just the absence of disease but raising your energy levels and experiencing well-being holistically now and in future.